History and Humbling Facts about Memorial Day

It’s easy to associate Memorial Day weekend with weekend barbecues and lake trips, but the holiday is about far more. Memorial Day, which has been a national holiday since 1868, is dedicated to the men and women who have died while serving in a branch of the United States military.

Memorial Day will be celebrated on Monday May 30. From 1868 to 1970, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 (regardless of what day of the week it fell on), but since 1971, the holiday has been celebrated on the last Monday of May.

While Memorial Day barbecues, lake days, and camping trips are common activities for the three-day weekend, make sure you're celebrating the holiday respectfully. Before you fire up the grill, volunteer to place miniature American flags ($8 for 25 flags, Amazon) at military gravesites or in local parks. If you have a flag pole, be sure to fly your flag at half-mast until noon then raise your flag high in honor of our nation's battle heroes.

One of the very first Memorial Day celebrations on record was held by newly freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina. On May 1, 1865, freed slaves gathered with members of the U.S. Colored Troops to bury and honor fallen Union soldiers. A crowd of 10,000 people formed a parade around an old race track, where they sang hymns and decorated graves.

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. The act asks all Americans to observe a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time on the afternoon of Memorial Day.

We have lost many heroes since the civil war. If you enjoyed reading this little bit of History, please like and share.

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